Kermit, taking in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo courtesy of Macy’s.
Last year, for the debut of the Muppets Christmas special “The Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa,” I got to interview Kermit the Frog, who was busy editing the special from the swamp he calls home, since “when you edit in alligator-infested waters, you get fewer network notes.” Here’s my interview with Kermit for the Post, wherein Kermit gives me the scoop on the love quadrangle between him, Jane Krakowski, Uma Thurman and Miss Piggy, and reveals the inside story on the sizzling Uma/Pepe The Prawn love affair. Merry Christmas.
Well, this just makes sense, now, doesn’t it? The psychedelic weirdo band that sends human-sized beach balls bouncing around the crowd (often filled with actual humans!) covers the classic album from the band that sent inflatable pigs flying over theirs.
Ladies and gentleman, I present to you:
“THE FLAMING LIPS and STARDEATH AND WHITE DWARFS WITH HENRY ROLLINS AND PEACHES DOING THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON!”
The album, featuring the Lips “unique” take on the Pink Floyd classic (accompanied by fellow Oklahoma City band Stardeath and White Dwarves, and special guests Henry Rollins and Peaches), will be released online only, exclusively through iTunes, on December 22. One week later, it will also become available through other digital outlets. Then, for those lucky enough to live in Oklahoma City, The Lips – accompanied by Stardeath and White Dwarves, which I know little about except that one of the members is Lips’ leader Wayne Coyne’s nephew – will perform the album in its entirety at midnight on New Year’s Eve, following full individual sets by both bands.
The track listing for the recording is as follows:
1. Speak To Me / Breathe (featuring Henry Rollins and Peaches)
2. On The Run (featuring Henry Rollins)
3. Time / Breathe Reprise
4. The Great Gig In The Sky (featuring Peaches and Henry Rollins)
5. Money (featuring Henry Rollins)
6. Us And Them (featuring Henry Rollins)
7. Any Colour You Like
8. Brain Damage (featuring Henry Rollins)
9. Eclipse (featuring Henry Rollins).
If you’re wondering how Rollins and Peaches fit into all this, you’re not alone. Can’t you just imagine Rollins wailing out on that awesome vocal solo in “Great Gig in the Sky?” No? Well, me neither. But since that’s the only song Peaches is featured on, you can pretty much figure she’ll be tackling, and putting her own sexy pervy techno spin on, that classic bit of rock history.
Here’s Lips leader Wayne Coyne telling you how you can get tickets to the New Year’s Eve show – which will include both the world’s largest balloon drop and the world’s largest mirrored disco ball – for only $10.
And, to further set the mood, here’s some rare Pink Floyd from San Francisco in 1970.
Keith Moon, as the infamous (and apparently true) legend has it, accidentally gave Led Zeppelin their name when, as he and Who bandmate John Entwistle grew fed up with how Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey were getting all the attention in that outfit, they considered pairing up in a band with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. (This was several years pre-Zeppelin.) Moon joked that it would go down like a lead zeppelin, and Page remembered the comment several years later when naming his new outfit.
But while the story passed into legend, (recently verified in Mick Wall’s excellent new Zeppelin bio – more on that when I finish the book), the band that never was remained an unsatisfied legend. Sure, The Who and Led Zeppelin became two of the best bands in history, but still…any real classic rock fan has to wonder what could have been, even if just for one album. Moon, Entwistle, Page, and Beck – would it have worked? Could it have worked?
There are two huge questions here. First, could Page and Beck, great friends and yet occasionally bitter rivals around this time, have co-existed in their own band? (Yardbirds aside, since they were more of a pop outfit at that point – had Page and Beck went out on their own, the focus would have been MUCH more on the guitars, a la Zep and The Jeff Beck Group).
But let’s remove Beck from the equation for a moment, and look at the remaining trio. Consider how Pete Townshend became one of the greatest guitarists in rock by figuring out how to fill the not-exactly-plentiful spaces Moon and Entwistle left open; a rare six-string legend defined by the situational nuance required by his rhythm section. Then consider how John Bonham and John Paul Jones, while certainly explosive (especially Bonham), were far less a rhythm section devoted to the pure flurry of music, the endless cavalcade of notes and beats, as Moon and Entwistle were. In a sense, Moon and Entwistle were their respective instrument’s versions of Jimmy Page. So taking all this into account – would Moon, Entwistle and Page have created an explosive outfit a la The Jimi Hendrix Experince, all guns blazing and pushing each other to amazing feats of instrumental daring ‘do…or would they have simply overwhelmed each other, beats stepping on notes stepping on riffs until Moon finally exploded in rage, shaking the life out of the rail thin Page and wringing him out in frustration like a sopping wet rag?
We’ll never know, of course. But still, the lingering question of what might have been makes this clip all the more special, if only for the novelty. And this appearance from 1977, when Moon joined Zeppelin on stage in Los Angeles, is only for the novelty. The clip is one of many taken from 8mm fan footage for Led Zeppelin’s official YouTube channel, and for reasons unknown (but probably having to do with copyright or legalities of some sort), the powers-that-be took the annoying step on many of these clips of hacking all this exquisite footage into bits so that it jumps after 10 or 20 seconds to a different section of music – basically, it’s a Zeppelin medley where the reel-to-reel master tape was edited by Edward Scissorhands.
But still, the bits themselves are wonderful, and the moment at 6:07 when Moonie hits the stage is still pretty thrilling. He then joins John Bohnam on percussion for “Whole Lotta Love” and “Rock and Roll,” including the slamming drum bit at the end of that song. Like I said, the quality – both audio and video – makes it appreciable as little more than a novelty. But still, with Zeppelin and Moon on stage together, what a novelty it is. Enjoy.
How’s this for a great news/horrific news scenario?
On the plus side, legendary sketch comedy troupe Kids in the Hall are finally doing a new filmed project together. “Death Comes To Town” is an eight-part mini-series that is so far airing only on Canada’s CBC network, but will hopefully be picked up by a U.S. network soon (or if not, at least receive a DVD release sometime shortly after its Canadian airing.)
According to an interview KITH member Bruce McCulloch did with Entertainment Weekly in September, the mini features Mark McKinney as a codpiece-wearing “Death,” Dave Foley as a “boozy broad,” and Bruce as a “600-lb. shamed ex-hockey star” – among, I’m sure, scores of others.
But the bigger news from the Kids’ camp is that shortly after the series was given the go-ahead, KITH member Scott Thompson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s gastric lymphoma. In an interview published last week by the Canadian magazine MacLeans, Thompson revealed that he was diagnosed this spring, and underwent six rounds of chemotherapy (with an assist from “medical marijuana”). Now, thankfully, his doctors have proclaimed him cured. While he still has some pains and injuries as a result of his treatment, he’s looking forward to creating a one-man show about his ordeal, and hoping to inspire others who find themselves in this horrible position.
Scott Thompson as Buddy Cole @ Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario – June 2008 – Photo by Gillian Manford
One bizarre side note to all this – Scott discovered that he was sick after hearing a series of gunshots outside his home that sent him into a panic, as the resulting stomach pains are what sent him to the doctor. From MacLeans:
“I went into complete shock. I spent the night trying to find the thickest wall to hide against. The next morning when I woke up, I had pain in my stomach.”
The reason for his panic, beyond the obvious, is that when Scott was 15, he saw a classmate embark on a rampage – a school shooting much like the ones that make headlines today. Now, this trauma came full circle, possibly saving his life by allowing his cancer to be discovered early.
I interviewed Thompson back in 2001, and we spoke at length about the shooting. (For an article that, to further the irony, hit newsstands on September 11, 2001.) Here’s some of what he shared with me.
ST: Every generation thinks they invented everything. The truth is, 25 years ago there was a cycle of school violence in North America, but the media’s too lazy to really research. When I was a kid, my friend shot 17 people. Killed three.
LG: Did you actually see it?
ST: Yeah. I was there. I lived because I was late for class. When I came across the hallway it had begun, and I saw someone lying at the end of the hall, and I noticed blood on the floor. I heard shots around the corner, and I froze. I didn’t know what [the shots] meant. I had never heard a gun before. And the next thing I knew, a teacher grabbed me and said, “Get the fuck in the room!” I knew it was serious, because I had never heard teachers say “fuck.” We hid there for about 40 minutes while it happened. One girl came in who was shot, and eventually we were taken out. When Columbine happened, I was doing an incredibly horrible pilot, and I just remember I saw Columbine on TV and it’s almost like I was taken back in time, because they looked so much like us. They were mostly white and prosperous middle class kids, holding hands and running around the school, and I went, “holy shit. What’s going on?” It struck a real chord in me.
Scott Thompson as Buddy Cole @ Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta – 05.24.2008 – Photo by pierrotsomepeople
Yesterday was the fortieth anniversary of the Altamont Speedway Free Festival, the free concert headlined by the Rolling Stones on December 6, 1969 that ended with the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old black man named Meredith Hunter by a member of the Hells Angels.
Mick Jagger at Altamont, from the film “GIMME SHELTER.” Courtesy of the Criterion Collection.
The article deals with both the events of the show itself and its eventual impact, as many regard it, having come less than four months after the successful peace and love fest Woodstock, as the end of the sixties — a status I feel, having recently read the riveting book “Helter Skelter,” that it shares at least equally with the Manson murders.
In viewing “Gimme Shelter” for the first time in years, I was struck by how portentous many of the film’s images were. The more you learn about that day, the more the tragedy seemed inevitable, and the more you actually see of the day, the more the myth of the sixties is exposed as an idealism that simply could never have stood the test of time.
Here’s my list of ten remarkable images from the film, along with the times they appear, that reveal more than meets the eye. I’ve left out some of the obvious ones, like the stabbing of Meredith Hunter or the numerous pool cue beating scenes. In fact, the violence during the sets by the Stones and the Jefferson Airplane contained too many incredible images, I felt, to single out. The images included here are less obvious, but no less powerful. They don’t bash you over the head with meaning – they’re more subtle – but within that subtlety they say something profound about the event, the participants, and the nature of the times.
1. Mick Jagger’s self-revelation – 15:50-16:20
In a press conference about the upcoming concert, a female reporter riffs on the Stones’ hit “Satisfaction” by asking Mick if he’s any more satisfied in his life, and Jagger responds “do you mean sexually, or philosophically?” He then says, to the amusement of the assembled media, that he’s “sexually satisfied, and philosophically trying.” The edit then quickly cuts to Jagger, post-Altamont – now older, wiser, and, presumably, philisophically scarred – who solemnly blurts out, “rubbish.” The moment is fleeting, but from someone as iconic (even then) as Mick Jagger, it’s a fairly startling bit of sincerity — a true rock legend, the ultimate celebrity, calling himself out on his own bullshit.
Mick Jagger at Altamont, from the film “GIMME SHELTER.” Courtesy of the Criterion Collection.
What kind of world would this have been had the Beatles included Scottie Pippen? Why, the kind of world where the Beatles win the Super Bowl, star in I Love Lucy, and have their back catalog destroyed by Emperor Gorlock.